How to use ‘Color of the Year’ information to guide your customers

by Brian Sodoma

It’s that time of year again, when coating manufacturers reveal their colors of the year (COTY). Many will also roll out entire palettes and talk about the reasons these colors will be hot in 2022. This news is more than hype for painting professionals like Stacey Spear, owner of S&S Painting in Virginia. Knowing about the upcoming year’s trending hues, along with other color-selection information, gives her a competitive advantage.

“I love recommending colors and it helps me to get more business because a lot of customers don’t like to have to choose their own colors, and many painting contractors will stay away from it,” she said.

Here, she and another color expert share how a painting professional can leverage color-of-the-year knowledge to build stronger relationships with customers.

Leveraging the ‘why’

Knowing why a paint manufacturer chose a certain color or developed a specific palette is valuable to Spear. It tells the paint pro the feeling the color elicits and why that feeling reflects public sentiments today. She also attends seminars from paint manufacturers who talk about the colors and how to use them; Spear suggests other pros do the same.

“We review each color being considered through the lens of how the color will look on a wall and with other materials that are often considerations when selecting wall colors,” said Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore’s director of color marketing. “We also want the colors to have longevity and be great choices for various rooms in a home.”

Magno describes October Mist 1495, the 2022 Benjamin Moore COTY, as “a gently shaded sage that can anchor a space by creating a canvas for other colors—encouraging homeowners to bring their personality and individuality to home design.”

Spear keeps that information in mind when she listens to customers who talk about the feeling and purpose they envision for a room. If there’s an alignment with what the manufacturer says the color should elicit, she might suggest it. And she is already seeing the color as a potential fit for some of her local clients.

Knowing trends and your market

Spear also says it’s important to not always use colors of the year as a suggestion for what’s hot. Some customers don’t want to be perceived as trendy, and certain colors simply may not work for the market you serve.

“A couple years ago, there was ‘Simply White.’ It was not a color with great coverage, so we steered away from it and didn’t talk about it as much,” Spear recalled. “We knew it wasn’t a fit for many of our customers. … There were some other ones from other manufacturers where we looked at and thought, ‘well, maybe on an accent wall, but not a whole room.’”

Spear also pays attention to see when local trends are shifting toward or away from national ones.

“In the Richmond [Virginia] market, we tend to hold onto grays, although we’re seeing more of a natural tan coming back, too,” she added. “It’s a case where people just want to feel calm and peace in their home and outside, so we’re starting to see that gray phase go away … but it’s a little slower here.”

For more articles about color selection for painting professionals, visit

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